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    Pride and Purpose

    GHWB Sailor Poses for an Environmental Photo

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Roberson | 210518-N-SY758-1034 PORTSMOUTH, Va. (May 18, 2021) Yeoman 3rd Class Desmonde Brown,...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Roberson 

    USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)

    PORTSMOUTH, Va. – When Sailors are asked why they joined the Navy, one frequent reply is “to find myself.” From the first steps a person takes, all the way up to the point of high school graduation, many are told what to do and how to act in most aspects of life. It is a struggle for most people to balance who they want to be and who they have to be. But, there is one Sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) who bucks that trend.
    Yeoman 3rd Class Desmonde Brown has never doubted himself. Brown is proud of the person he is and what he represents. Brown is a gay United States Navy Sailor.
    “I am who I am,” Brown said. “If you can’t accept me or who I am, then that’s too bad because I am going to remain the same person regardless of your view of me.”
    Brown was born and raised in Greenpond, South Carolina. Growing up as a gay man was challenging at times, but Brown came from a supportive home and family. Brown’s parents only wanted the best for him.
    “My parents are like my private cheerleaders,” Brown said. “They always supported me with everything. I love my parents because they helped me become who I am today.”
    After graduating high school, Brown attended the University of Georgia for one year before enlisting in the Navy.
    “I wasn’t ready for college,” Brown said. “I was accepted into the University of Georgia, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I failed out of Georgia but I never lost confidence in myself, I just knew I had to find another route. My grandfather was a former Judge Advocate General (JAG) and he pointed me in the Navy direction. I figured it would be something different from Greenpond, South Carolina.”
    Being an openly gay man in the Navy, Brown has had a different experience than most during his time in service. With the Navy being such a diverse setting, Brown no longer had to endure the stares and comments made by others because he was the only one who was different.
    “When I joined, I was in shock at how many gay men and women were serving in the military,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, I’m not from a place that’s accepting of homosexuality. So, when I saw that everybody on the ship was treated as equals and not individuals, it made me more confident in who I was.”
    Shipmates aboard GHWB see Brown as a Sailor who is comfortable in his own skin with a strong belief in himself.
    “Brown is a person who is never lacking confidence,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Renejah White, Brown’s close friend aboard GHWB. “He has always been consistent in who he is. He’ll never change for anybody, especially those who can’t accept who he is. That’s what’s great about him.”
    Brown has also had plenty of mentors along his Navy journey. He has aligned himself with those who have pushed him, those who have guided him, and those who have helped him recently get accepted into the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Brown admits that he couldn’t have done it without the support of others.
    “You know the saying ‘it takes a village,’ that’s what it was for me,” Brown said. “I have had mentors such as Master Chief Operations Specialist Jason Wilson, Senior Chief Yeoman Tatiana Torres, the Operations Department as a whole, and my former Division Officer, Lt. Peri Curtis. She was the one who helped me with the Naval Academy process. I am forever grateful to her.”
    Brown feels that with his confidence and foundation, he can become whoever he chooses to be. He hopes he can be an example to other LGBTQ Sailors who might feel slighted due to their sexual orientation. That those Sailors can choose who they want to be.
    “I would recommend the Navy to any gay person who is looking for a career,” Brown said. “While there has been a point in time that members of the LGBTQ community could not openly serve, it’s not like that anymore. Be who you want to be and make them accept you. If you act how you truly are, then you will be a lot happier in life and your career.”



    Date Taken: 05.18.2021
    Date Posted: 05.24.2021 20:39
    Story ID: 397226
    Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US 

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